Avelino Barbosa Rodrigues 1900-1929

Isabel Barbosa Rodrigues
Avelino Rodrigues

My great-grandfather, Avelino B. Rodrigues, was born on August 20, 1900 in Pai Luis, Sao Joao Baptista, Brava. He was the son of Rufino Rodrigues and Isabel Barbosa. The eldest of four, he joined his father and two uncles, Benjamin and Manuel, in Providence around 1917. Rufino and his brothers began immigrating to the US in the late 1800’s

His father, Rufino eventually retired back to Brava as well as Manuel, but I have found records of Benjamin as a wounded WWI verteran! By 1921, Avelino was joined by his brother Artur and cousin, Ernesto (Manuel’s son) in New Britain, CT. At some point they even owned a grocery store there.

The three eventually moved to Waterbury, CT to work at the Chase Metal Works factory. It was at that time one of the largest Brass metal factories in the country. They lived at 189 Orange St in Waterbury. Arthur would eventually marry the owner of the home, Rita Spinola, a widow, also from Brava.

December 31, 1922

In December 1922, Avelino traveled back to Brava to marry my great grandmother, Maria. They had been exchanging letters and pictures. He brought her everything she needed for the wedding.They were married on New Year’s Eve, 1922. In February 1923, he boarded the schooner, Volante, bound for the US and back to Waterbury.

American immigration laws started to become more stringent at this time making it difficult for most Cape Verdeans to travel back and forth as much. Avelino was never able to return to Brava or send for his wife and daughter.

On June 24, 1929, Avelino was killed in a factory accident at CMW at 3:45 pm. The hose he was using to clean his machine got caught and he was crushed between the machine and the floor, immediately killing him. He was buried on June 26, 1929 at Calvary Cemetary in Waterbury.

This past February, I was finally able to find and visit his grave. I am the first direct descendant to visit since 1929!